In South Carolina, Sweet Gum trees are a nuisance to say the least. They take over any open area and grow very rapidly. The wood is not considered to be good for firewood, so any that is cut is allows to lay around and rot most of the time.
I decided to use some pieces to make a bowl, and the results turned out pretty good. The piece I used had been cut to use as a log for growing shiitake mushrooms, but it didn’t get inoculated with the mushroom spawn soon enough and was allowed to sit and begin to rot.
With the climate in South Carolina hot and wet, the rotting process happens very quickly. This log had been cut and lying on the ground for around 3 months. It started out as a white log with very little grain pattern or coloring. Fungi begin to decompose the log, creating the black lines that wood workers refer to as “Spalt”. This spalted sweet gum bowl is the first of many I plan to make, I didn’t take any photos of the log before I turned it, but here is the final result.
I now have a much better lathe for use at my leisure, so I had to turn a bowl to try it out. After a 6 hour round trip drive yesterday to pick it up, I made it back to the shop and promptly began making the wood shavings fly. The variable speed controller, combined with the stability of the over #300 machine, made for an awesome experience. This wild cherry bowl took shape quickly, now it will sit for a few days to dry before I complete the final sanding and apply a finish.
Today I am heading back to the shop to see what will unfold. Maybe some walnut, more cherry, or spalted sweet gum is in the cards. I won’t know until the wood speaks to me 🙂
I have been playing with time lapse videos on my iPhone, this one turned out pretty good as far as I can tell.
I mounted the wood block on the lathe, and my lovely wife had to sit on the lathe until I had turned it enough for it to quit shaking. You can see the lathe moving in the first few seconds of the video even with her sitting on the other end. Next time, I am going to have to get my oldest daughter to sit on the other end 🙂
My name is Jody Scholly, sorry I couldn’t resist… Jody Scholl
If you found this site through our other site – www.theschollbus.com – Welcome to my new adventure… If you found this site through another avenue, you may want to check out the other site to learn more about me.
I began learning how to turn wooden items on a lathe during my 4 years at Berea College in Kentucky. While getting my BS Degree in Industrial Technology Management, I spent a lot of time in the wood working lab as the lab supervisor.
Berea is a work-study school, requiring all students to work somewhere on campus. Working as the wood lab supervisor allowed me to spend a large amount of time in the lab. I began assisting with the teaching of classes, some of which were in the evening and offered to members of the local community.
My free time began to be filled with bowl turning, and I couldn’t really stop. I was a bowl addict, and I had it bad. I turned hundreds of items, mostly bowls, while at Berea. Upon graduation, I almost quit turning cold turkey since I didn’t have a lathe of my own and I became so busy with other things.
Over the last few years, I began getting the “Bowl Turning Itch” again, and turned every chance I had. The main place I had to turn was at the East Tennessee Crank-Up antique engine show every June. I purchased an antique lathe, and was able to combine my love for antique engines with the wood turning that I had been missing.
Since we set up a home base in South Carolina, I purchased an old Delta lathe and began turning some pieces to sell at the local farmers markets. I am now turning several times each week, and plan to buy a larger lathe in the near future to keep the habit alive. I have been dabbling turning some goblets and glasses, here are a few of the items I turned on the Delta lathe.
I will be setting up a Turning Photos page in the near future to showcase some of the pieces I have been making. I also hope to include photos of some of the pieces I made during my time at Berea College, since many of the pieces were given to family and friends as gifts during that time. If you happen to have some of my work from those college days, please send me a picture of what you have.